The Vernon Project, FERC No. 1904, is located on the Connecticut River at river mile 141.9 and extends upstream approximately 26 miles. The dam and powerhouse is approximately 2 miles upstream of the Ashuelot River and 7.4 miles downstream of the West River.State or Territory: New Hampshire and Vermont
Project works consist of:
The original license for the Project was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 26, 1945 and in 1955 the Project was purchased by New England Power Company. The original license expired on June 30, 1970 and the Project operated under annual licenses until the license was renewed on June 25, 1979. The license had been amended on July 31, 1970 for the use of the Project as a cooling water source for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant located just upstream. The 1979 license (as amended) remains in effect and expires on April 30, 2019 after FERC granted a one year extension on July 22, 2015.
On October 5, 1978, the Commission approved a settlement agreement concerning fish passage facilities for American shad and Atlantic salmon at the Project, and at two other projects - Wilder (Project No. 1892) and Bellows Falls, both located upstream. The settlement was executed on December 30, 1977 among the Licensee, the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and four non-governmental organizations (the Environmental Defense Fund, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, Inc., For Land’s Sake, and Trout Unlimited). The settlement called for staged design, construction and operation of passage facilities at the three Projects, with Vernon’s construction being the first in the series. The upstream fishway was subsequently completed and commenced operation in 1981.
In 1986, a major reconstruction of the spillway crest water control mechanisms was completed and included the addition of a trash sluice (skimmer) gate, 6 tainter gates and 2 50-foot bays of hydraulic panels in the spillway section. A new rack raking system was constructed along the powerhouse forebay at that time.
On July 26, 1990, the Licensee entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission (CRASC) for permanent downstream fish passage facilities for the Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon Projects. Downstream passage facilities were constructed in 1995 and consist of a “fishpipe” and louver array as well as a “fish bypass” as described in section 2.3.3 of the Pre-Application Document.
On June 12, 1992, FERC issued an order amending the license for the proposed replacement of four existing 2.0 MW turbine/generator units (Units Nos. 5 through 8) with two 14.0 MW turbine/generator units (Unit Nos. 11 and 12). As required by Article 403 of the 1992 license amendment, downstream fish passage facilities at the Project were completed in 1995. However, after several time extensions the replacement of the four existing generating units never occurred. The license was subsequently amended on July 28, 2006 for the proposed replacement of the same four existing units with four new 4.0-MW units. That replacement did occur and the new units became operational in 2008.
On February 27, 1998, FERC approved the transfer of the license from New England Power Company to USGen New England, Inc. At that time, the station was automated and began operations via remote control from the Connecticut River Control Center in Wilder, Vermont.
On January 24, 2005, FERC approved the transfer of the license to TransCanada Hydro Northeast Inc.
On April 19, 2017, Great River Hydro, LLC acquired all of TransCanada's New England hydroelectric power portfolio which included the Vernon Project.